Weight Watchers International unveiled its new approach on Monday morning. The new plan is more focused on healthy living rather than dieting to lose weight. However, it has been met with mixed reviews.
Last week, Weight Watchers revealed its new website and app, but there were instantly problems. Some members could not get access at all, while others said the app was deleted or doubling the food they would put in. It was becoming difficult to track, but the company said that the website was still working. Many leaders around the world also confirmed that the books would still allow members to track with paper and pen while the app was updated and fixed. CEO Jim Chambers released an update apologizing for the app problems and said that developers were working around the clock.
It was clear that change was coming, as there had been rumors for a few months. Despite confidentiality agreements, some Weight Watchers leaders were sharing the plan with members early or at least sharing that changes were coming. When they told their clerks and helpers, some were spreading the news on Facebook groups. There were a few people scaremongering as they tried to find out changes in advance, and some complained that Weight Watchers were keeping them in the dark and not respecting them as paying customers.
However, plenty of others were eagerly anticipating the changes. Some were looking forward to the rumors they were hearing — that there would be more of a focus on a healthier lifestyle. Others were just happy that some change was coming to help get them back on track in 2016.
Now Weight Watchers International has launched its new approach, and the information is available. The approach is holistic, focusing on how people feel as well as losing weight. Oprah Winfrey announced in October that she had bought a 10 percent stake in the company and became a board member because she believed in this approach. She has lost 26 pounds following the plan, but it is more than just about her weight loss. According to the Wall Street Journal, she admitted that before July, when she received a phone call from the company, she had never tried the Weight Watchers plan. It was something she believed was part of her mother’s generation and did not see it working for her. Now she has completely changed her mind.
According to PR Newswire, the name of the points have changed from PointsPlus (or ProPoints in the United Kingdom) to SmartPoints. Activity points are now called FitPoints. Allowances are all personalized, with a personalized fitness target to aim for each week. Some members have said that they love this because it is more about them. The changes will help them focus on becoming healthier.
The values of foods have changed, which have led to some people complaining. This happened when the points system changed five years ago when the PointsPlus program was introduced. The difference is the way people looked at the changes. Last time, people would look at how they could still fit their treats in, sometimes sacrificing meals. This time, there is more focus on the type of food used to fuel the body and how it makes someone feel. Part of the program is all about “smiling” — being healthier mentally as well as physically. One of the taglines is that “happier people make healthier choices.”
The CEO of Weight Watchers, Jim Chambers, said that the company has had to change. Not only is there a declining membership, but there’s also a shift in the way people look at diet plans. People don’t want to diet but desire a healthier lifestyle. This is why the new program goes “Beyond the Scale.” There is more emphasis on fitness and motivation, not just the number at the scales. He says the company has omitted the word “diet” from its program on purpose.
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